Estimating Components of Plant Community Diversity on Mined Lands

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Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Bridging the Gap Between Science, Regulation, and the Surface Mining Operation



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Techniques suggested to date for estimating plant community diversity on mined lands have focused on intracommunity (alpha) diversity, largely ignoring intercommunity (beta) and landscape (gamma) diversity. These techniques lack any formal procedure for expressing sampling variability in the resulting diversity estimates. Jackknife methods now exist which not only estimate alpha, beta and gamma diversity, but provide confidence intervals for these estimates as well. These methods are dependent upon the identification of plant communities, which poses a potential problem on mined lands where the redeveloping plant communities may be so spatially interspersed as to preclude immediate identification. A method which combines non-hierarchical clustering of quadrat data with the jackknife estimates of diversity is presented as a technique for the evaluation of the three components of plant community diversity on mined lands. The feasibility of the approach is demonstrated with a sampling of native reference vegetation adjacent to a southwestern Wyoming coal strip mine.

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